Fatal Carroll County Bus Driver Was Sleepy from Taking Cough Syrup


October 24, 2011

The issue of sleepy drivers is a matter of great concern that can cause Georgia auto accidents that result in serious injury or wrongful death.

Many people take medications, whether prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs, that can either make a driver sleepy or exacerbate the effects of driver fatigue. We wrote recently that a school bus driver trainee that was involved a fatal school bus accident entered into a plea agreement that resulted in probation.

A media report indicated that the school bus driver may have been sleepy because he was under the influence of cough syrup. It has been widely reported that the driver had run over a dog earlier in the day and was observed struggling to keep the bus in its lane of traffic. A trainer was onboard and apparently observed all of this activity and noted it but did not intervene. The bus driver’s toxicology screening was negative for illegal drugs and alcohol but was positive for brompheniramine, an ingredient used in cough medication that can cause sleepiness and fatigue.

These tragic new details only add to the sad reality that this was an easily avoidable tragedy. When an employer or a supervisor for an employer has knowledge that an employee is not fit to operate a vehicle, the employer may be liable for injuries or wrongful death resulting from a collision involving a driver who is negligently entrusted with a motor vehicle. An employer should never entrust an employee who is not fit to drive with a car, truck or SUV, and especially a commercial driver like a bus driver or tractor-trailer driver who is sleepy, ill or taking medications that impair driving ability. The information that the driver in the fatal Carroll County school bus accident was sleepy because he had taken cough syrup only adds to the growing body of evidence of negligence on the part of the trainer and the school district.

Sleepy driving is a problem that most people recognize as unacceptable and dangerous but engage in despite the risk of causing a serious Atlanta car crash. According to the Insurance Networking News, 85 percent of drivers identify sleepy driving as an unacceptable driving practice. Despite this widespread view, 41 percent of drivers admit to having fallen asleep behind the wheel at some point based on data from AAA. Anyone driving when they are tired faces a serious risk of being involved in a sleepy driving accident. The risk is not only that drivers may be injured in sleepy driving accidents but that there also is an extremely high risk of sleepy driver accidents resulting in fatalities. Tired drivers account for over 16 percent of all auto accident fatalities according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

If you are tired either because of illness, side effects of medication or lack of sleep, it is important to stay off Atlanta roadways to avoid fatigued auto accidents. The experienced auto accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, recognize that tired drivers pose a serious danger of causing drowsy driving accidents in Atlanta and throughout Georgia.

If you are injured by a tired driver in a crash caused by driver fatigue or a driver who falls asleep at the wheel, our experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers have been representing victims of fatigued drivers for nearly 30 years.  Our Atlanta accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

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